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08/19/2008 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival: Slipknot, Disturbed, Dragonforce, Mastodon, Machine Head, Underoath, Five Finger Death Punch, 36 Crazyfists, Walls Of Jericho, The Red Chord, Airbourne, Black Tide, Stemm, Suicide Silence (Darien, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center)

By Eric | August 19, 2008 11:59 pm

A hell of a lineup on a hell of a day! Adam and I arrived around noon, separately, within about 2 minutes of each other. We set up our little tailgate, this time with a small camping grill, which almost proved to be a challenge! After getting that settled, we settled in with some beverages to watch the parking lot proceedings for awhile. We made our way in the front gate around 2, and once in, pretty much made a big U-turn to get to the 2nd stage areas. They set up the two stages side-by-side, which was awesome because due to the one on, one off nature of the two stages, the music was constant all afternoon. While one band was playing, the other stage was tearing down / setting up, and as soon as the band would finish, the next one would start. Great logistical planning. One thing that did kinda suck was the fact that the surface in front of both stages was a bunch of rocks. Somewhat flat rocks, but rocks nonetheless, and boy that musta sucked for anyone in the pit that fell down. Thankfully no one was throwing them either! There were merch tents for all of the side-stage bands surrounding the 2nd stage area, a big Rockstar Energy Drink trailer in the back middle, a giant Jager dome off to the left, and the LINKMetal Mulisha were doing Motocross tricks off of a large ramp on the right side. So no shortage of entertainment!

But enough about the setup, onto the bands! Adam and I set ourselves up in front of the left-hand Jager stage, because Stemm would be playing there first and we wanted a good spot for them. However, the first band of the day was Suicide Silence, on the right hand Hot Topic stage, so we watched/heard them from afar. They were decent, but grindcore isn’t my kind of metal. So after their half-hour, Stemm was up in front of us, in front of their hometown crowd. They came out guns blazing, obviously being excited to be the Jager band for this stop. They ran through three new songs off of their forthcoming album, playing Blood Soaked, Casualty For Prayer, House Of Cards, and ending with just about the whole crowd singing along to Monster. Wish they would have played longer, but they were great! The place had really filled in, so a lot of people saw them too.


Recognize anyone in the 2nd pic?

Casualty For Prayer

Monster Part 1

Monster Part 2

So we had a little bit of time until some more bands we were set on seeing, so we meandered around, checked out the grounds, got a beer, and watched a couple of bands from afar, mainly Black Tide (whom we hardly watched at all) and Airbourne (not sure why they were on this tour, they’re more of a rock band in the AC/DC mold, and while pretty good and fun, a little out of place). We positioned ourselves on the fringe of the right-hand stage during The Red Chord’s set, and they were entertaining to watch. They’re also considered grindcore I guess, but I liked them better than Suicide Silence. The singer was having fun with the crowd, setting up a dual-stage “Wall Of Death” (and the crowd pulled it off!) and for their last song they had Candace from Walls of Jericho come up and sing with them. Walls of Jericho themselves were up on the left-hand stage right after, so we watched them from the right-hand stage as we waited for 36 Crazyfists to come out. WOJ were pretty good too, and there seemed to be quite a few people there to see them.

But we were there for 36 Crazyfists, and they didn’t disappoint whatsoever. In fact, they were even better live than I thought they were going to be. There were a lot of kids here to see them as well, which helped. They opened with I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops, and then into The End Of August and The Heart And The Shape, which got everyone pretty whipped up. The pit got even crazier during We Gave It Hell and Bloodwork. Brock kept thanking the crowd, which continued to be all about the set during Felt Through a Phone Line, at which point I wussed out and got out of the front. I actually got a cramp! Freakin unbelieveable! Soooo not metal. Anyway, we stood on the sidelines for Elysium, Installing the Catheter, and the closer was The All Night Lights. I cannot wait to see these guys again with a longer set (and less wussiness from me)!

I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops

Elysium

As great as that set was, the next one was even better. Arguably the highlight of either of the 2nd stages, Five Finger Death Punch had just about everyone packed into the left-hand stage area to see them, and they left everyone drained after their half-hour set. They opened with Ashes, and the place went nuts. The crazy-go-nuts didn’t stop during Salvation, nor The Way Of The Fist. It only stopped during the middle of White Knuckles, and that was because the band all but stopped the song to prime everyone for the breakdown in the middle. Lead singer Ivan Moody led the chant “I’m taking back control…” to which the entire crowd responded “…WITH MY KNUCKLES”, at which point the pit pretty much exploded. Talk about fun, being in the middle of that was pretty cool! Obviously, the closer was The Bleeding, and the crowd participation on that one was just as good (see the video below). I actually got knocked down during this song, but much like the whole day, everyone in the pit was awesome, they stopped and picked people back up, no one that I saw got hurt too badly, no one got trampled, and everyone had a great time. I definately need to see these guys on their own show as well, as live, they impressed the hell out of me.



Salvation

The Bleeding

More meandering at this point, Adam and I got our wristbands for the pit, but we didn’t watch any of Mastodon, and hardly any of Dragonforce on the mainstage, and while we were doing that, we missed Underoath on the side stage, but caught most of Machine Head’s set before going back to the main stage for the two big bands.

Much like other Darien shows, the pit was the first 10 rows of seats taken out, surrounded by a barrier. We made our way in during Disturbed’s first song, Perfect Insanity, and after chilling in the back and noticing not a damn person moving around at all, at the start of Liberate we follwed some other people and pretty much bum-rushed our way into the middle center where people were jumping, somewhat moshing, and generally acutally enjoying the show. Disturbed sounded fantastic, and considering I haven’t seen them since July of 2001, they’ve come a long way. They were just flat out great. They mostly played their “hits”, but that didn’t really matter. Just Stop, Voices, Indestructible, and Prayer were next, with the crowd around us singing along to everything. Stupify, Criminal, 10000 Fists, and The Game followed, and then a few words from David Draiman about how Inside The Fire set a record for longest time at #1 on the Active Rock chart (15 weeks I think), before playing that, and closing out the set with Stricken and Down With The Sickness. Again, they sounded great, the stage setup was minimalist, but cool, and once we got around people that were actually moving, the crowd was great too.



Just Stop

Indestructible

Inside The Fire

Now it was headliner time… Slipknot. This being the third time I’d seen them, and first on the floor/pit. It didn’t really matter, and I’ll tell you why. The crowd in the front pit area, for the most part, was L-A-M-E. Now I will admit, I was tired by this point too, but holy shit people, it’s Slipknot for crissakes! They opened with an intro clip from Danger, Keep Away, and then the first song was the old closer, Surfacing, which should have whipped everyone into a frenzy from the get-go. Adam and I started jumping around, and save for like two other people, no one else did, at least not down front and center by us. A lot of standing around and fist pumping, and not much else. The band sounded great, and the setlist was pretty decent also. After Surfacing, we got The Blister Exists (with the the cool drum part in the middle), a nod to the old fans with Get This, then continuing on with Before I Forget, Disasterpiece, and the new Psychosocial. They brought it back to the older stuff with The Heretic Anthem, and really old school with Prosthetics (which was neat to hear live). They closed it down with People=Shit and (sic). Like I said, the band sounded good, the stage setup was neat as always (the hydraulic drum kits were in full force, and Clown’s rig had a video screen and a couple cameras attached to it, and the pyro was cool), but the crowd was awful. There was one pit off to the rear-right of us, but other than that, it was people standing around. I never thought I’d be able to stand in one spot in a Slipknot pit and not get touched. I hope people were going crazy on the lawn and in the seats, because people in the pit certainly were not. It almost dampened my enthusiasm for the set a little.



Surfacing / The Blister Exists / Get This

Overall, the day was a great success, the bands were great, the crowd for the most part was great (until the end), and the whole setup was great. Getting out of the parking lot, not so great. We sat for 45 minutes with nary a car moving at all. Nowhere. Then it’s like something released, and we got out in a pretty decent fashion. Weird. Anyway, good times, good tunes, and good memories.

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